A “Deeper Still” God

Text: Psalm 10:1-18

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” —Psalm 40:2

Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, were sent to a Nazi prison camp for hiding Jews in their Holland home during World War II. When Corrie remarked about the depth of the pit they were in during their imprisonment, Betsie replied, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”

I can’t begin to fathom how distant God must’ve seemed during some of those long and dreary days as these sisters faced the worst that humanity could throw at them in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. I have no idea how distant God seemed to Joseph when he was betrayed by his brothers, hurled into a pit of agony, and later sold as a slave in ancient Egypt (Genesis 37). Yet both of these stories, notwithstanding all of their dark nights of the soul, ultimately find redemption in the One Who is “deeper still.”

It’s a redemption the writer of the tenth psalm is longing for in his own crisis of the soul: “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” The psalmist seems to be troubled, even resentful, over the apparent inactivity of God as the wickedness of man prospers. Why hasn’t God shown up? Why hasn’t this despairing soul seen his breakthrough? Is the pit he finds himself in too deep for God’s reach?

According to Maclaren, the psalmist uses a rare word in the ancient Hebrew vocabulary that means “a cutting off, i.e., of hope of deliverance. The notion of distress intensified to despair is conveyed.” Yet even in his darkest notions, the writer finds a way to keep bringing himself back to the truth about his God.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
   you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
   you are the helper of the fatherless.

Whenever we find ourselves in a similar dark night of the soul, we can do what the psalmist did and choose faith over our feelings. Waiting for God’s redemption to play out while we are in a pit is never easy, but notice how the psalmist wins the struggle. He wrestles back and forth between focusing on the circumstances (which are not favorable in the moment), and focusing on the character of God (which is “for ever and ever,” v.16). By the end of the psalm, he is fixed on the latter.

Martin Luther said:

Feelings come and feelings go,
   and feelings are deceiving.
My warrant is the Word of God,
   naught else is worth believing.

When you find yourself in a dark night of the soul, let the truth of God’s Word speak louder than your emotions; let it see farther  than your finite perspective; let it bring you to the steadfastness of your God so that you too can say, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, may your word always speak louder than our circumstances. May your promises always give us a faith to see farther than our physical sight. May we never lose our trust in your faithfulness, even in our darkest nights. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for personal reflection, small group discussion, or dinner table conversations:

  1. What is the darkest season you have ever had to go through?
  2. Have you ever felt like the psalmist, that God was standing afar off or even hiding in a time of trouble?
  3. What is the tension that you see in Psalm 10 as it unfolds? Where does the writer end up?
  4. When are you most vulnerable to doubt God’s promises?
  5. What can you do this week to lean more into God’s truth over your feelings or circumstances?

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